Friday, September 02, 2005


I'm not even sure I will post this. I'm so thoroughly annoyed by so many things right now that I don't know if I can logically express these things in a socially acceptable politically correct manner. However I just need to get it out.

I will preface by saying that I feel really bad for the people affected by hurricane Katrina. I feel most bad for the ones who simply didn't have the means to get out of harms way. I don't however feel bad for any jackass that gets on tv and starts mouthing off about political bullshit during a time of crisis. I don't feel that bad for millionaires who chose to live 18ft below sea level. I don't feel that bad for people with really nice houses who are stuck in them with water up to the second floor because they refused to heed the warnings. There's a pretty good chance I wouldn't heed the warning of severe weather coming but I will never blame someone else when I'm stuck on the roof of my house someday because I refused to listen to the warnings. Although around here the fucking weather reports are so goddamned relentless that they will interrupt the last 5 minutes of the season finale of your favorite show to inform you that there might be a light dusting of snow for the morning commute, so they better fucking be all up ons when a hurricane is going to bury my house in water. The weather people are like people that play the same lottery numbers every day. You're kinda stuck playing them every day forever because you can't bear the thought of not playing them and having them hit. Weather people have established a history of exaggerrating the effects of weather so if there really is a terrible disaster coming they better fucking be telling us about it.

So I'm a little off topic here because what I really want to discuss is the refugees and Kanye West. I'm just baffled and depressed by how racism becomes a factor in everything. I really don't believe racism factors into half of the events that get accused of it. Not enough black head coaches in the NFL.... must be racism at play. Not enough black Quarterbacks.... definitely racism. Ty got booted off of Rockstar INXS and gave a really empassioned and totally racist departure speech because obviously it was racism that led to his departure. And now at the forefront of it all is the disaster in the south. Federal aid and public support seemingly aren't happening as fast as they should...... without a doubt it's obviously racism. George Bush must be a racist because Kanye West derailed a fund raising concert to declare it.

You know who's a racist? KANYE WEST! Fuck you asswipe. A whole host of amzing caring people with great intentions put together an amazingly powerful fund raising concert simulcast on all 3 NBC stations to raise money for a really important cause and all you have to say is basically America and George Bush don't care about black people. How fucking stupid can you be. Nothing extinguishes the spirit of giving like a racist moron getting on tv to make political statements at the expense of people in such dire need of help. The only saving grace is, although you asked me specifically to imagine that it was you out there suffering, I ignored you. I imagine the people suffering are normal people like me not racist fucking millionaires that have no ties to reality whatsoever. I'm not talking about the people who are stranded either. Those people are in an emotionally unstable state and don't have the luxury right now of knowing the magnitude of the disaster. So they say uninformed things that frankly the news media should have the common sense to keep off the television. But as a public figure with access to all the facts, if you're so dumb that you can't understand how detrimental your racist political statements are to the public spirit of giving, then please just stay off the damn television.

GODDAMMIT. Nearly a million people are homeless. It's going to take time to provide aid in a strategic successful effort. People are there. People are helping. The government is helping. The weather people made it clear (at least to me) that New Orleans was in dire straits at least 3 days before the storm hit groundfall. You know what happens if you just set out to deliver enough food for 1000 people to a convention center with 20,000 people in it. You get a riot. Things have to be thought out and executed in a rational plan and it takes time even for the "magical" federal government to mount that strategy to help a a city of a million people who are now in the 18 feet of water.

Please don't misunderstand me. I am as hearbroken and saddened by the tragedy as anyone. I really urge everyone to give whatever they can manage to help the cause.

Here are some easy ways to give money:
Red Cross via Yahoo Stores
Red Cross Direct
Salvation Army

Good people care about the people who are in need in the south. Good people are doing everything they can to help. Good people are offering their homes to strangers. I'm just frankly really tired of racists leading the charge against it.


Scooter said...

Kanye was indeed wrong. Bush hates anyone who cannot help him and his cronnies, that just happens to include poor black people.

John said...

well said Scooter. I'm not a huge Bush fan and I certainly didn't mean to defend him by calling out Kanye.

Alisa said...

Ugh... very good post. I couldn't agree more. My comment ended up being so long that I must made it a post on my blog.

Johnny Virgil said...

That was excellent. Well said, and 100% on the mark.

Derek said...

Seriously, though, Kanye's new album is the shiznite!

Late Registration, fools!

My view on this whole thing is, don't give artists who are CLEARLY controversial a public platform and then get outraged about it when they do what everybody expected them to do. This goes for Kanye (who's clearly indicated his racism by his lyrics ever since he first hit the scene), Michael Moore, Bono, and every other holier-than-thou celebrity activist fag.

slcup said...

Thanks for writing this better than I could. I watched the concert last night and wise moved by all of it until Kanye got on there and just went apeshit. Seriously, he didn't make much sense other than some racist rantings. The other guy with him should've just shoved him aside and said 'on with the show' or something. Oh, and Aaron Neville makes my ears bleed.

bFranco said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bFranco said...

I happened upon your blog by jumping from other blogs. Interesting commentary. I agree that it shouldn't be treated in a racist manner, since to begin with, it was more a class thing than a race thing. Being poor has nothing to do with color, and though perhaps the majority hit by Katrina were black, Katrina did not discriminate.

The truth of the matter is, Louisiana was a third world country before Katrina hit. It was the poorest state, and considered by many residents as No Man's Land or the state that government forgot. The criticism shouldn't have been one of race, but at the fact that so much of the U.S. lives in extreme poverty. That the land of opportunity has no opportunity for too many of its citizens. That the government has given too much to frivolous affairs and not enough attention to Home. That 268 billion have been spent in Iraq and Louisiana was cutting 58 million from its education budget when over 90% of high school students are drop outs.

Too late at keeping this comment short, but in summary, black or white, these people needed help before and now, more than ever. So, I agree that it shouldn't be about race and that Kayne was out of line in that regard, but we do need to be more patriotic as a nation and stop defending the man on the throne, and instead defend our citizens from his incompetence. My unrequested 2 cents. ;)

russ said...

bFranco, you undermine your argument by making up extreme statistics.

From what looks like an reasonably authoritative source:

"The city has a 40% illiteracy rate, and over 50% of black ninth graders will not graduate in four years."

By using 90%, you so vastly overstate the problem that someone can dismiss all of your important points.


bFranco said...

Thanks russ for the clarification. Although I wasn't specifying for a specific sector in the community, further research (thanks to your comment) showed me that there have been a number of discrepancies as to the actual numbers all around from competing political agendas of state interest groups and politicians. That means that the statistic I mentioned (which I got from a state official) and all numbers should be taken with a grain of salt as each uses different measurement methods, BUT the problem is WAY high either way, and should not be something allowed to happen in any state of the union. The numbers you present are unacceptably high, particularly the illiteracy rate which I didn't even mention or think about. WOW. That drives the point home even worse.

Thanks again.

Lucius Atherton said...

I absolutely HAVE to rebut your central contention, bFranco. Do you have any idea what EXTREME POVERTY is? Have you spent any time in a 3rd world country with real freaking poverty? I have. Two frozen-ass years in the industrial-third world wonderland of Russia. If you have a television (not to mention freaking satellite television), you are not EXTREMELY poor. If, as statistics show is the case for Americans who live below the so-called poverty level, you have a diet that far exceeds the MDA for calories, you are not EXTREMELY poor. Please do actual research instead of making up statistics to buttress your emotional intuitions.
All that being said, however, you have a point as to the problems that New Orleans faced before the hurricane. The lower classes are in a much worse position to flee before a disaster. The major blame, if you ask me, is on the state and local government level for absolute and total failure to prepare for these problems, especially as it was their primary responsibility. My hear is broken for the victims. That's why I'm going to coastal Mississipi this weekend to take part in a cleanup/reconstruction project. The political/racial inanities are horrendously divisive. Let's all just get to work.

Sarah said...

I heart you, John. Kanye needs to shut his effing mouth and send a couple mil down there. Hey I wonder what Diddy thinks about all of this? Oh wait no I don't.

bFranco said...

Thanks for the rebuttal lucius. I always enjoy entering into discussions to gauge other people's opinions about different subjects. No one is always right, and that includes me, so it's always good to learn from each other. The first part of your response was a bit emotional, but that's all right. We can all get emotional when we feel strongly about a certain subject. Statistics are only measurements, a social construction to try to comprehend a certain situation. In this case, like I mentioned before after being corrected by Russ right here, these happen to be all over the place (both from government and the media). It would seem I unfortunately chose the wrong government official to ask, but as I said before, even if it was 50% and even 30%, I still think it unacceptable.

About poverty and television, I can only say that having a TV doesn't mean you live in less poverty. The definition of the word itself has multiple meanings to a lot of people, but having to search garbage cans for aluminum cans to recycle in order to buy food, in my opinion, is certainly quite poor. This has been how one of my best friends had to grow up. Walking a couple of miles to school because you couldn't afford the useless public transportation I'd say is quite poor. Not having electricity often times because there's no money to pay for even that (or it's unreliable in your area), I'd say is quite poor. Living in an area that floods every time there's rain I'd say is quite poor. Sure they had a TV, and they would watch it when there was power, but at least in my opinion, his situation has been quite poor.

I don't doubt what you saw in Russia, I've grown up and lived all over the world, and have been to many a slum, ghetto, depressed area and what not, and have seen all the levels that constitute the term "below the poverty line". Most of them are extreme, some are a bit better, but they are all unacceptable because what most people take for granted they don't have. I've actually seen it up close with many friends, but most of all with one of the closest as I already mentioned. Sometimes we have trouble seeing the reality in our own noses, in our town, in our city, in our state, in our country. We may think it's one way, and then upon further inspection find that too many people have no running water, have no or occasional power, that they have to go to extremes just to eat. I once joked like you about the TV and satellite dishes, but I don't anymore upon having seen the reality up close in a few of the states I've lived. That that is happening in the U.S. at all is, IN MY OPINION, unacceptable. But hey, that's just me.

It's good that you are helping, as I know many people are as well, as am I. All help is appreciated, but don't stop to help simply because a disaster has occurred, look around town, for there are many there that would really appreciate it too. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

It’s a fact that most of the evacuees were poor and black. As an American Kanye took advantage of his right to free speech; which the last time I checked didn't say except during telethons.

The hurricane was a cluster fuck to that city! But, if you're a black person it's a little more personal watching people get herded, locked into buildings, and go without food and water for days. I know you may not understand that but, You taking it allot more personal. Kanye started off with the right intentions by volunteering his time.

I believe he let his personal frustration take over in the end. Racism still exist I know we want to pretend it doesn’t but it does! I am not even talking about the fucked up past of this country. I'm talking about people who still teach their children to hate and people who still think that Black Americans are somehow less capable than whites.

For the record – Harry Connick, jr. who toured the devastation also said he felt the poor were being treated unfairly and it seemed to have racial undertones while being interviewed on the Today show.

Also, I think Bush is more of an opportunist than a racist. Those people didn’t give big contributions to his campaign and live in a state where is brother is governor.

Derek said...

If that last anonymous post wasn't Vincent, I'll eat my hat.

Brian said...

who really wrote this post? Not the same guy who writes about poop?

John said...

The people who teach their kids to hate and who think black people are less capable than whites see Kanye West 'exercising his right to free speech' and tell their kids "see, I told you so." Don't you get how hypocritical the guy is. Jesus. He's saying people aren't doing enough for 'people who look like him' and in the same breath is totally and completely detrimental to his cause. Emotion overriding logic is why racism IS still so prevalent. Yes Kanye can say whatever he wants to, I totally support that and for that same reason I can call him an idiot. Both are forms of free speech Mr. Anonymous.

Sarah said...

Derek, I thought it might be CV, too, because he called the hurricane a 'cluster fuck' (which, btw, is awesome), but then he didn't mention anything about bending chicks over so I don't think it's him.

Johnny Virgil said...

I found this interesting. We'll see how it pans out.

LEADERSHIP: What Failed in New Orleans

September 6, 2005: Using troops and military equipment for natural disasters is nothing new, but the procedure for getting them in motion is complicated by federal and local law, as well as local politics. New Orleans, which has been getting hammered by hurricanes and floods for over two centuries, has to start the process by appealing to the state governor. The states control any National Guard troops who are not federalized (about two thirds of Louisiana troops were not federalized, and available to the governor for the recent hurricane Katrina). The governor also has to request that federal assistance, including outside troops (both National Guard from other states and federals). FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is set up to expedite this. FEMA is mainly a supervisory organization. The actual relief work is done by federal and National Guard troops, as well as many public and private relief agencies. In the case of New Orleans, any requests from the Louisiana, for federal assistance, go first to a Department of Defense headquarters already established to deal with the situation (Joint Task Force, or JTF, Katrina) at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. The staff officers there will, if need be, translate the request into language the military understands (specific types of military units, equipment and supplies), and transmit it to Northern Command headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. There, units, equipment and material available will be matched with the request, and then the document will be transmitted to the Pentagon, where the Secretary of Defense signs it and has orders sent out to all units involved, to get moving. Many of those units may have already been alerted by Northern Command, that they might be ordered out for disaster relief operations. The activation process takes less than a day. Additional requests from the state governor are handled the same way.

The governor can mobilize National Guard troops at any time, and some governors do so before a major hurricane hits. The problem with Hurricane Katrina was that it was the largest to ever hit the city directly. Historically, about once every 35 years, a category 4 hurricane hits within 160 kilometers of New Orleans. The last category 4 to come close (but not as close as Katrina) was in 1965. Before that, water came over the levees in 1940. Each time the city got flooded, the levees were reinforced, and more pumping capacity added. Katrina was different because several levees actually failed, flooding most of the city, more than at any time in the past. This was a worst case situation, and the city government had no plan in place to deal with it. The attitude in New Orleans was to “muddle through,” some how.

New Orleans also has some unique leadership problems. The city is one of the most corrupt in the nation. Residents consider themselves survivors not only of the climate and weather, but also their own elected officials. The police force often provides ugly headlines about corrupt cops, and other city officials aren’t much better. It is a wild and lawless city even in the best of times. The murder rate in the city is one of the highest in the nation, ten times the national average, and higher than many cities in Iraq.

The New Orleans government thought they were ready for anything, but they weren’t. The flooding was so quick and extensive that it knocked out most communications, power and accessibility. The city was unable to muddle its way out of this one. Embarrassing details will emerge over the next few weeks and months of how the city and state officials did little, or nothing, as the city was flooded. But those who know the history of New Orleans will receive this information with a sense of déjà vu. Meanwhile, the media and political partisans will invent villains to fit each of their particular agendas. In the end, however, it will be clear that the problems were a lot closer to the scene of the disaster.

KarmaTee said...

What's lost in all this are the millions of peple in America who were already homeless, many due to circumstances out of their control (mental health disorders, fleeing domestic violence, disability-related poverty, etc.). I'm all about helping NOLA refugees. But it makes me a little sick when I see, here in Denver, for example, the governor opening up an empty Army base to house 1,000 people from New Orleans when we have more than 4,000 homeless families (not drunken old men, but mothers with children) on our streets every night. Why does it take a natural disaster for people to feel compassion?

As you donate to Katrina relief, please also remember the local nonprofit organizations working to help those less fortunae right in your own backyard.

P.S. Love your blog. You crack me up (this post aside, obviously).

russ said...

"Why does it take a natural disaster for people to feel compassion?"

In our society, obviously anything bad that happens to a person is either
A) blamed (litigously) on a business owner,
B) your own damn fault, or
C) a natural disaster.


(BTW< John, do you realize blind people can no longer post to your blog?

Lo Lo Lova said...

What I want to know is where can we donate items like diapers, food, clothing, etc. I'm so leery about giving money - I'm afraid it might not go directly to the victims. But every time I look online, all I see are places to give my credit card number. I'd rather donate diapers and formula than put money in someone else's pocket.

russ said...

If you're really worried, you can do some research on where you're giving.

If you'd rather just not give you don't need an excuse.


Lo Lo Lova said...

I'm not looking for an excuse! I'm just really leery of some charities because I know not all the money always goes to the cause. Thank you for the website. I will look into it. Russ, I'm not an asshole. I swear!

russ said...

Sorry, I'm the asshole.


John said...

Glad that's straight. Lolo=awesome, Russ=ahole. In case anyone was still confused.

Lo Lo Lova said...

Russ, you're not an asshole. We're cool.

John, thanks Man! You're the best!

Melanie was here said...

I have been known to be an asshole.

Anonymous said...

Fisrt of all I think all of you people have way too much time on your hands. Second I understand why Kanye did what he did and also do agree that George W comes off a bit racist. And can anyone tell me why in the aftermath of the worst storm the gulf coast has seen in fifty years, the reaction time of our government was slower than any of the recent, less severe storms that have hit Florida? If you have the privilege of not having to face racism on a daily basis it is very easy to say that racism is not a big deal anymore.I believe it just helps you white people sleep at night to ignore the worlds problems and say that they dont exist.Maybe Kanye was out of line to vent on national television during which should have been a hopefull and heartwarming experience, but if any of you people can actually say that you those people were treated fairly than I would say you are no better than these backwoods klan rednecks I deal with on a daily basis.